The Taming of the Queen

tamingI just finished the latest in Philippa Gregory’s Tudor series, The Taming of the Queen – a book about Kateryn Parr, King Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife.  Ms Gregory calls this a book of fiction, and she does take some literary license when describing some of the “behind closed doors” scenes and dialogues, but that said, I know this book was meticulously researched.  Who knew Queen Kateryn was the first woman to ever publish a book in English, in her own name? Who knew how strongly she believed in the Reform movement in the church at that time in history? Who knew that there were plots within Henry’s court to have her tried as a heretic and removed?  I learned so much and enjoyed every single page along the way. If you are a Philippa Gregory fan; if you are a Tudor fan; if you are simply enthralled by English history, you will thoroughly enjoy this remarkable new novel.

Back in 2009, hubby and I made a marvelous trip to England and Wales. One glorious day we were able to visit Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII’s favorite residence. That day we were able to watch and even take part in a reenactment of the marriage of King Henry to Queen Kateryn.  Here is the short video I took that day:

Oh my, how I’d love to go back to Hampton Court and see it all again.  This time I’d also like to stop by Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire – where Kateryn Parr is buried.  Here’s a photo of Sudeley Castle and garden.

Time to make a trip across the pond and eat up some more very interesting history – I wish!! 🙂

Our trip – part two

Charleston at sunset, out our hotel window.

Charleston at sunset, out our hotel window.

Charleston, South Carolina.  This was my first trip ever to the “real South”… I guess I don’t count Florida as the “real South” – not sure why.  At any rate, with the help of our Magellan GPS system – and the woman inside who tells us where to turn and which lane to get into – we arrived without a hitch in Charleston after a several hour drive from Florida.  You know, I used to be my dear husband’s “right hand woman” — his number ONE navigator – the “super duper map reader” — until this GPS came along.  We nicknamed the female voice “Maggie”.  At first I was a bit resentful of Maggie.  After all, I was always the one calling out the twists and turns to our travels.  All that changed this trip, and people, while I was a bit reluctant at first, I grew to LOVE that woman!!!  I didn’t trust her in the beginning and had my map out and open… following along with her instructions.  But then… as I noticed that she suggested all the same exits that I would have, I gave up.  I gave in to “Maggie Magellan”.  It was soooo sweet to NOT have to flop around with that map!!  Just plug that girl in, type in the address, and wait for HER to tell us just how to get there.  I’ll never go without “her” again!! 

In Charleston, we had a limited amount of time.  I wanted to go to two plantations.  We made it to one.  John wanted to get out to Fort Sumpter, and we did manage that.  I had lists of “good restaurants” I’d gleaned off one of my favorite webistes, tripadvisor.  Tops on my list was a carriage ride through the historic district.  We went with Palmetto Carriage.  The carriage driver/tour guide was superb – we learned so much about the history of the city! 

On the carriage ride through the historic district of Charleston

On the carriage ride through the historic district of Charleston

We took a ferry out to Fort Sumpter, and learned more about the Fort and it’s part in the history of the US Civil War.  I just love history and historical sites and thankfully so does John.   Then, it was on to Boone Hall – a plantation just outside of Charleston.  WHAT A GREAT place to visit!  All right, I’ll admit that one of my favorite movies of all time was/is Gone With the Wind.  I became fascinated with “plantations” when I first saw that movie back in the 70’s… and the trip to Boone Hall was like a dream come true.  It is still a working plantation, although they no longer grow cotton or Pecans as they once did.  Check out the view going up the “Avenue of Oaks”!

Imagine being on a horse, riding up this driveway!

Imagine being on a horse, riding up this driveway!

These Live Oak trees were planted in the 1700’s by the original owner, Mr Boone.  “Live” oak trees are evergreen, unlike your run of the mill, basic Oak, like we have here in Washington!   We attended a presentation on the Gullah culture, set up behind one of the slave cabins on the plantation.  Since the slaves came from all parts of eastern Africa, they all spoke different dialects and the “Gullah” language was born… a blending of all the dialects – so they could communicate.  It was a fascinating presentation. 

She told us a story in Gullah, and then translated it to English.

She told us a story in Gullah, and then translated it to English.

 

The third home built on the same site.

The third home built on the same site.

We took a guided tour around the plantation and then a brief tour inside the lower level of the home – which is actually the third home to be built on the same site.  I believe the other two burned down.   All I can say is that this was a wonderful piece of living history and I wish I’d had more time to go to more plantations!   After our visit to Boone Hall, we began our trek southward again, to Savannah Georgia…  a place that would prove to be not only interesting and again historical, but a little spooky, too!